Daily Reflection
June 20th, 2002
Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Chaplain in Kiewit Student Residence
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Sirach 48:1-14
Psalm 97:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7
Matthew 6:7-15

In my studying the New Testament and using it for prayer, I have come to the conclusion that the two texts which best summarize its message are the Magnificat and the Our Father.  I will not go into detail here about that, but I would like to look at the significance of one or two lines from the latter, which is the center of today's Gospel reading.

When we say "your kingdom come" we are asking that God our Father establish his reign on earth soon.  If we wish to use the paradigm of "grace" to describe this we can see that the power to accomplish this is God's and God's alone, but if we look at the situation in terms of vocation, mission, the priesthood of the laity, or any of a number of other paradigms the real choice and responsibility is ours.  By praying the Our Father, if we mean the prayer seriously, we are consecrating ourselves to this task and opening ourselves to let God empower and direct us in living out his love.

"Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven" is very similar to "your kingdom come" but is not identical.  This is what should be our root prayer, should be the source, default, and override of any other request we might make of God, of any expectation we might have of his intentions.  This is what Jesus himself prays in the garden of Gethsemane:  "Not my will be done, but yours" (Luke 22:42).

What is at issue here is our faith and our hope in God:  do we really believe that his desire for our growth and fulfillment far surpasses our own?  That our little prayers are nothing other than the babblings of a two year-old?  God pays close attention to what we his children have to say in such prayers, is joyed that we turn to him with our cares and pains, but when we place ourselves fully in his hands and proclaim our trust in him we are far more adult in our relationship to him.  It is at that point that calling him our Father takes on a mature depth and breadth.

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